Monday, April 27, 2009

Daily - 4/27/09

John 6:30-35 (Tuesday gospel)

30 So they said to him, "What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do?

31 Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"

32 So Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.

33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."

34 So they said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always."

35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.

As Catholics, the Eucharist is our identity. It is what separates us from all other Christians.

I've been diving into the mysteries of the Eucharist over the past few months. I'd read about saints hungering for the bread of life, and literally not able to tolerate a single day without receiving it. When I'd read something like that, I felt like I was really missing out on something spectacular. Quite frankly, I had respect for the Eucharist, but my experience at mass for the most part depended on who was giving the homily, what was the topic, and whether or not that touched me personally.

I wanted that to change. So the first thing I did in response to that question was to take it to God. Heavenly Father, I prayed, show me what you want me to know about the Eucharist. Before long I was presented with two books, both of which came to me completely by chance. Here are links to both of them:

As I started receiving these books, I saw descriptions of how the great mystic saints -- the likes of St. Catherine of Siena, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Faustina Kowalska, St. John of the Cross, and St. Therese the Little Flower -- saw the Eucharst. In their writings, they describe unbelievable transforming power. It was so compelling that I wanted "some of that." But how to get it?

Well, they had advice. The first and best advice is to PRAY. The Eucharist, they say, is a tremendous source of graces (IE, gifts from God). God wants to give us immeasurable graces, but we as individuals typically don't truly ask for them, and if we do, we typically don't adequately prepare ourselves to receive them. If we don't do that, we still receive graces, but far, far reduced from what God wants to give us. It is up to us to allow God to bring the Eucharist to life in our own lives.

All that sounds good so far. What I then wanted to know was ... how? Go figure, the books had suggestions.

- Believe in the Real Presence.

- Come to mass in a state of grace (i.e., go to confession OFTEN).

- Before mass, place yourself in the presence of God.

- Lay your heart open to Him, examine your conscience, and confess any sins you have.

- Understand that Communion means full union with the Triune God (IE, father, son, and spirit), the heavenly host of saints and angels, and with the Church on earth.

- Ask God to give you the graces he so desires to give you

- Offer yourself to Him to be transformed.

My personal testimony to you that I have started to do this, and it has changed my life. I no longer care who's saying mass. I ask God to help me learn what He wants me to learn from the Homily, and I move on to the main course, which is to be transformed by Christ in the Eucharist.